Does Bush have the authority to take us to war against Iran?
Patrick J. Buchanan:
In his Jan. 11 address, Bush said that to defend the "territorial integrity" of Iraq, the United States must address "Iran and Syria."
"These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
The city sat bolt upright. If Bush was talking about Iranian agents inside Iraq, he has no need of a second aircraft carrier in the Gulf, nor for those Patriot missiles he is sending to our allies.
But does Bush have the authority to take us to war against Iran?
On ABC last Sunday, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, while denying Bush intends to attack Iran, nonetheless did not deny Bush had the authority to escalate the war -- right into Iran.
George Stephanopoulos: "So you don't believe you have the authority to go into Iran?"
Stephen Hadley: "I didn't say that. That is another issue. Any time you have questions about crossing international borders, there are legal questions."
Any doubt how Attorney General Gonzales would come down on those "legal questions"? Any doubt how the Supreme Court would rule?
Biden sputters that should Bush attack Iran, a constitutional crisis would ensue.
I don't believe it. If tomorrow Bush took out Iran's nuclear facilities, would a Senate that lacks the courage to cut funds for an unpopular war really impeach him for denying a nuclear capability to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Bush's lawyers would make the same case Nixon made for the 1970 "incursion" into Cambodia -- and even a Nixon-hating Democratic House did not dare to impeach him for that.
Bush's contempt for Congress is manifest and, frankly, justified.
Asked if Congress could stop him from surging 21,500 troops into Iraq, Bush on "60 Minutes" brushed aside Congress as irrelevant.
"I fully understand (the Congress) could try to stop me from doing it. But I've made my decision. And we're going forward." Asked if he had sole authority "to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do," Bush replied, "In this situation I do, yeah."
Still One More Card to Play